The Indiana Pacers traded Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but passed up better deals to get their star out of the Eastern Conference.
The team trading the star player always loses the trade in the NBA, we know that much. Not only did the Pacers get fleeced in the Paul George trade, but they also shot themselves in the foot with the deal. Instead of taking the best offer, Indiana general manager Kevin Pritchard was “hell-bent” on getting Paul George out of the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN had the report on the Pacers’ stubbornness:
“Most of the NBA execs I have talked to since Paul George trade feel that Kevin Pritchard was just too hell-bent on keeping George out of Eastern Conference; made it emotional instead of taking the best offer.”
Adrian Wojnarowski recently said the Celtics offer was awfully tempting. On the latest edition of SportsCenter, Woj gave the details on Boston’s offer for George.
On paper, the offer of Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and numerous first-round picks is absolutely the superior offer. Part of Indy’s stubbornness besides for getting George out of the East may have been the fascination with Victor Oladipo. The former Indiana University product allows him to return to his college roots.
Oddly enough the Pacers lost salary cap space in the George deal. Oladipo comes over with an annual salary of $21 million per year. After losing Jeff Teague to the Timberwolves on the first day of free agency, Indiana will have approximately $24 million in cap space to tinker with their roster.
The George deal could have a domino effect around the league. Could Gordon Hayward now be Boston bound with a clearer path to the Finals in the East?